Whether you're thinking about starting an email newsletter, or
have already launched one, you may have considered whether to
include entire articles in your newsletter, or go with a teaser that
links to the full article on your website. In this issue, our friend
and newsletter expert, Debbie Weil, shares some tips that can help
you make the right decision - according to your audience.
E-newsletter content: Teasers or the whole article?
by Debbie Weil, Publisher, WordBiz Report
Which content formula is the right one for your target audience -
a teaser followed by a link to the full article on your site? Or
inclusion of the complete article in your e-newsletter?
If you've launched an e-newsletter, you've already pondered this
question. But you may not have the final answer. If you're planning
an e-newsletter for the first time, this is a key consideration.
Here are five questions to help you decide how to handle this
piece of your content formula:
What Is The Objective Of Your E-Newsletter?
Be honest here. If your e-publication is primarily a
promotional update on what's new with your products and
services, then a promo blurb followed by a link back to your Web
site may be most appropriate.
You want to drive readers back to your site to sign up for
that special promotion or download a trial version of your
latest software release or a sample chapter of a new book.
If you're providing your readers with original, useful and
thought-provoking content, with the objective of branding your
company or organization as an expert, then including the full
text of your articles makes sense.
What Do You Know About Your Target Audience's Reading
If you're like most publishers, you do an informal survey in
your office to find out who likes to read on-screen and who
prints out to read later.
One VP of Marketing Communications told me, "We made the
conscious decision to do whole pieces in our e-newsletter,
basically forcing us to write good copy and to write tight. That
way people can read it on the train or in the loo ..." She
admitted that her office survey showed a "propensity to print
out our e-newsletters."
What Do You Know About Your Readers' Internet Connection?
In countries as diverse as Australia (which has a high
penetration of Internet users and is hugely Web savvy) and
Vietnam (where connecting to the Internet can be difficult and
expensive) it's not uncommon to download your email and then
shut off your Internet connection.
You'll need to know more about the demographics of your
readership to answer this question. But even in the ever-wired
U.S., you need to consider where and how your target audience
will be reading your e-newsletter.
Are You Publishing In Text Or Html -
This is a topic unto itself. If you're currently publishing
full articles in a text format, then you'll have to carefully
consider what your HTML layout will look like. You may not want
to have one endlessly long HTML page.
One approach that lets you incorporate full articles is to
use anchor links at the top of the page or in a left-hand
navigation bar so that readers can click on the title of an
article and jump to it further down the page.
And you'll probably want to stick with HTML "lite," avoiding
heavy graphics and other fancy visual elements. That way your
readers can still print out your HTML e-newsletter and read it
Are There Exceptions To These Rules?
Of course. Allen Weiss publishes a twice-monthly e-newsletter
whose objective is to drive readers back to MarketingProfs, his
site filled with hands-on marketing strategies and tactics
provided by professional and professors.
Weiss feels strongly that he doesn't want to overwhelm his
readers with content. His solution is to write intro copy that
compels his readers to click through to the site for the
complete article. His teaser formula: "I state a question or
make a statement that challenges the reader to question his or
her own assumptions."
BONUS TIP: if you're going to use teasers or
blurbs, say enough that the reader can get the gist of your article
without clicking through. This is a bit of an art, like writing a
Subject Line for an email message. Learn the art here:
How to Write a Sexy Teaser.